Girls in Malawi have been urged to stay strong and not underrate themselves by joining fields that are stereotyped to be for men only.
The call was made at Mponela Community Technical College in Dowa district during commemoration of International Women’s Day organized by National Youth Council of Malawi.
In an exclusive interview with Malawi24, Acting Principal of the Community College Osman Matola challenged young women in the country to take away the perception that they cannot do jobs which are traditionally deemed to be fit for men.
According to Matola, it is high time that young women in the country mastered jobs such as carpentry, bricklaying, plumbing and electrical installation.
Osman said young women have potential to tell corrupt minded men that look down upon women by producing flamboyant results in such jobs.
“For a long time in the country, women including girls have been bounding themselves in terms of doing other jobs. Most of them think they have specific jobs for them and other jobs are only made for men. This attitude in these young women is downplaying their active participation in national development,” said Matola.
“If these young women can involve themselves in technical jobs like carpentry, plumbing and tailoring among others, they will be able to support their families and reduce levels of unemployment among women,” Matola said.
Asked on how this can reduce levels of unemployment, Matola said when these girls can have vast skills about technical jobs they can employ themselves.
“It is not always that when you went to school you have to aim to get employed, these young women can have their own plumbing workshops or tailoring shops and they can in the process employ other people ,” said Matola.
In her speech, Tendai Banda who is the Youth Engagement Advisor at National Youth Council said young women who are pursuing studies in technical fields should be encouraged to excel with their education.
According to Banda, there is still a big job to be done with the aim of making these young women fully attach themselves to technical jobs such as carpentry, plumbing and tailoring.
“In the morning session we had a workshop for only girls whereby we talked to them about the programs that are there at Teveta and we also had role models that were there just to encourage them because they have also gone through Teveta and now they are successful women,” said Banda.
One of the girls who attended the celebrations is Falesi Chepetsani who disclosed how successful she became after graduating from Mponela Community Technical College.
Chepetsani said after obtaining her certificate in bricklaying she got a job at Mponela Catholic Church and now she is able to support her parents.
However, Chepetsani said that challenges are also there since men underrate her that she can’t produce best results in the job that is taken to be only for men.
“I just behave like I am deaf and focus on what I think I can manage, I don’t paint myself as a failure since I know that everything is possible and surely I am successful in the bricklaying field,” she said.
“My advice to my fellow girls is that they have to take themselves as achievers so that they can do anything in life. No job is made only for men since we are all equal. We need to be competing with them (boys) in almost anything,” Chepetsani added.
The International theme for this year’s International Women’s Day was “Women in the Changing World: Planet 50-50 by 2030.” While here in Malawi it was under the theme “Closing the Gender Gap in the World of Work by 2030,”
The celebrations were spiced by performances from female reggae and dancehall artist Sangie and poet Robert Chiwamba.